After losing in five games to the greatest team to ever take the court, what’s next for LeBron James? The King of Ohio played possibly his best playoff series averaging a triple-double through the five games.
While they didn’t end the season as they would have wanted, the Cavaliers put up more of a fight than most would have you believe. After game two the Cavaliers were competitive up until the very end. However, their depth didn’t match up and was outplayed by that of the Dubs.
Without getting into the argument of titles and what chance the Cavs actually had this year, what will their future look like? James is now 32, and he will not be able to play at this level forever. As word of James’s potential departure after next season fills the air, let us figure out what may drive that decision.
James has ruled the court and has been as dominant as any player ever. However, James has created a media presence unlike any other. His ‘Uninterrupted‘ series with Bleacher Report shines light into the lives of he and other players when not playing on ABC and TNT.
He and his business partner Maverick Carter are both investors in other media projects. Most of those projects are however based in Los Angeles, a city of basketball disarray. It is for this reason among others that the hot rumor is that James will be looking to the west coast for his next contract.
With the notion of Paul George coming to the Lakers after next season, people like Jalen Rose predict it’ll be for the Purple and Gold. Although, is the best option still in LA? While the Lakers roster has a high future potential and a storied past, is that optimizing his legacy?
Like James winning a title in Cleveland, James winning in a Clippers uniform may bring him to new heights. He’ll still have the benefit of playing in California and could link up with other big name players. When Demar Derozan was making his decision on where to sign last summer, he rejected the idea of going to the Lakers. His hometown team, it was wrongly assumed, as is with many players, that going to LA was an ideal fit. Derozan would go on to explain that in LA whatever he did would never match up. He could never amass the legacy in LA that he could build in Toronto.
The same can be said for James’s potential in Laker land. Even if he wins with the Laker’s, he’ll just be another name in their star-studded history. Imagine, if just for a moment, a reality where LeBron James plays for the Clippers.
The franchise has come synonymous with blowing opportunities in crucial moments and always being the butt of the joke.
If James were to not only win a title in Cleveland but for the Clippers and legitimize their franchise…
Although this theory needs a lot of help financially and would require Blake Griffin leaving this summer. Along with Griffin Leaving, if the team has any chance to compete with the Warriors or Spurs, Chris Paul cannot take the ‘Max.’
With Jerry West now employed by the team who knows what direction they’ll take it. However, both their future and James’s future could be riding on the decisions made this summer. If the Griffin and Paul re-sign for the max, do the Clippers think about trading Griffin midseason for George?
Do the Spurs and playing for Greg Popovich and next to Kahwi Leonard entice James?
This is assuming James ever even gets out of Cleveland.
Story updated with Pacers beginning trade talks for 'rentals' on Paul George, including contact with …. Cleveland. https://t.co/Ct6819EtyG
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) June 18, 2017
While Jimmy Butler and Paul George are rumored to want to join James in Cleveland, their infrastructure crumbles. With role-players that will likely find a new team this summer and currently will have no GM when free agency comes the immediate future of this team isn’t stellar.
Consequently, that future becomes even more convoluted with the proposition of Chauncey Billups filling in at GM.
All these factors in a vacuum make a James departure next season more and more likely. The next three seasons should finish out James’s prime years, and he’s too smart to spend them playing for an owner who he has animosity toward and may not be fully invested on financing a championship team.
Fans of James and the Cavs should expect the King to make his way over to La La Land and understand that in this situation don’t blame the player. Blame the team that couldn’t keep him through their owner’s incompetence.